Zambia’s tourist capital and its gateway to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the town of Livingstone is becoming ever more popular as the preferred destination to pass through when visiting the highest waterfall on the face of the earth, the Victorian Falls. Although a distance from the drenching mist of the mighty waterfall, the quaint town is soaked and overflowing with historical significance and cultural appeal.
Named after Dr. David Livingstone the charming colonial town’s Edwardian buildings echo the Englishman’s immortal words written about “a sight so wonderful that angels mush have gazed down on it in flight.” It is from this town where you too can gaze down at the majestic intensity of the Victoria Falls by taking part in the famous Flight of Angels; a voyage across the heights of the falls by microlight, light aircraft or helicopter.
Livingstone is a town revelling in the charisma of a colonial era and the slow pace of a time gone by. Largely seen as a tribute to Dr. David Livingstone, the town is littered with a museum, a few monuments and a church dedicated to the memory of the great English explorer and missionary.
Livingstone may be reached via scheduled flights from Lusaka, as well as daily flights from Johannesburg, South Africa.
As a must see destination in Zambia, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, we suggest at least a 3 night stay in Livingstone to fully appreciate the splendour of Victoria Falls, the African villages and the ancient town of Livingstone.
LUNAR RAINBOW: There is a bewitching element to the sight of a rainbow in the darkness of the night. When the skies are clear, you may be graced with the opportunity to see a lunar rainbow forming across the falls. As enchanting as it sounds, these lunar rainbows are rather rare across the world with regular appearance only at a handful of site, one of which is Victoria Falls.
CULTURAL DELIGHTS: Vibrant local craft markets are the ideal way to experience the local culture, and not to mention hunt for some amazing bargains. The markets are filled with creative treasures such as intricate handcrafted wooden sculptures, African masks, jewellery and ancient artefacts. Take a trip to Maramba Cultural Centre and get a chance to see traditional dancing, singing and the colourful costumes worn by these dancers. The Mukuni Village is a traditional African village founded in the 13th century. Visit the chief and he will lead you through the village where you can get a glimpse of how the Leya people live; their huts, traditional customs and their food.
Livingstone and its surrounding areas are becoming a booming tourist destination. As such, development has increased bet the old colonial buildings still manage to outnumber the new ones. Restorations have occurred to many of the Edwardian architecture.
When the political instability started in Zimbabwe, many new hotels were build in Livingstone as an alternative base to exlore the falls.
Victoria Falls, at Livingstone on Africa’s fourth largest river, the Zambezi River, is the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls, higher and wider than Niagara Falls, calculated one mile (1,600 m) across and plummets 350 feet (107 m) in some parts. A number of islets are situated at the peak, dividing the flow of water. The volume of water flowing over the falls varies with the season.
The Boiling Pot, the gorge through which the river flows just below the falls, is spanned by a rail and highway bridge more than 400 feet (120 m) above the water. The bridge, which is 650 feet (198 m) long, connects Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, with Maramba, Zambia.
Under the imperial rule of the British South African Company in the 1890’s, Cecile John Rhodes exploited the area for its natural resources, known then as North-Western Rhodesia. In 1897, the first municipality was established which some called Old Livingstone. Due to malaria outbreak, the British South African Company decided to move to higher grown known as Constitutional Hill.
As the area expanded into a town, it was decided to name it Livingstone as a tribute to the great explorer and missionary. With the growth of the Rhodesian Railway reaching Victoria Falls in 1904, the Victoria Falls Bridge started to be constructed. Prior to its development, the railway was extended from Livingstone to Kalomo.
A year later, in 1905, the bridge was fully functional and with its opening, the town boomed causing the Company to name Livingstone its capital in 1907. As the Company’s control extended, North-Western Rhodesia was combined with North-Eastern Rhodesia to form Northern Rhodesia in 1911. In 1935, Livingstone lost its favour as the capital city and due to its proximity to the Copperbelt, the honour fell to Lusaka.
After independence rained across the country, political crisis resulted in Zambia closing the shared border with Zimbabwe at Livingstone. This resulted in a major economic decline for Livingstone and caused development to seize, preserving the town in a state of colonial charm as it still stands today.
ADRENALINE JUNKIES: Seeking thrills and intensity? Well just below the falls lay the Batoka Gorge, surrounded by the ancient rain forests of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. This is believed to be the site of the world’s best one-day white-water rafting with commercial rapids of up to Class VI. Need more intensity? Make your way to the top of the gorge by cable car and head to the Victoria Falls Bridge, which connects Zambia to Zimbabwe. This is where you can leap down into the gorge for about 111m by bungee. Just about any adrenaline pumping activity takes place in the area; all you have to do is ask.
FLIGHT OF THE ANGELS: Dr. David Livingstone once wrote that Victoria Falls was “a sight so wonderful that angels mush have gazed down on it in flight.” Here’s your chance to call yourself an angel and fly across the majestic falls from the soaring heights of a light aircraft, helicopter or microflight.
HISTORICAL DELIGHTS: Visit Zambia’s oldest museum, the Livingstone Museum dates as far back as the 1930’s. The museum consists of five main sections; which include an archaeological gallery, historical gallery, an art gallery, a section on natural history, and even a large collection dedicated to David Livingstone memorabilia and journal entries. The Saint Andrews Church was erected in memory of David Livingstone in 1910-1911 and is still being used to this day.
Livingstone is graced by a humid subtropical climate. The rainy season peaks in March and April filling the gorge. During this season, expect hot summer temperatures. The dry season causes a drop in the falls, gorge and river; peaking in November and December.
The southern sub region of Africa is one of the richest places on earth. It is packed with spectacular scenery, unrivalled biodiversity, amazing year-round weather and vibrant cultural multiplicity.
There is a great regional travel network with both scheduled and charter flights conveniently linking destinations. From the arid western shores to the tropical eastern coast and Indian Ocean Islands, here lies an endless world of adventure, wilderness and nature.
If time is a factor and you want to focus your holiday on a combination of top destinations which afford you a good perspective of southern Africa, we have blended journeys that take in the very best into a selection of highlight packages. These itineraries include the best wildlife location, natural spectacles like Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta and the Namib Desert including visits to Cape Town.
No matter what your interest is, it is our speciality to tailor journeys in the region that fits your pace and budget. Let us inspire you!
For the hardened traveler you can explore great destinations in multiple countries. An example for this is at Kazungula where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia meet. To the east of South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are in close proximity of each other.
Each country has a unique character and they are all very different from each other in landscape and culture.
Regional travel is relatively okay if you remain on the main routes, however distances are vast and the conditions can at times be challenging due to some badly maintained roads and poor local driving etiquette. The best way to travel regionally is by air charter which is not only convenient scheduled but it gets you directly to your destinations without extra stops and wasted time.
Let us plan your itinerary to most efficiently use the best travel options available to make your journey more comfortable and cost efficient.